Twins sign Zumaya two years after pitcher's elbow exploded at Target Field [VIDEO]

Believe it or not, Zumaya missed playoff games after hurting himself playing Guitar Hero.
Believe it or not, Zumaya missed playoff games after hurting himself playing Guitar Hero.

The last time Joel Zumaya was seen in a major league game, he was crumpled behind the pitching mound at Target Field, grasping his arm and writhing in pain after one of the hardest-to-watch baseball injuries in recent memory.

Zumaya hopes to create better Minneapolis memories this season, as over the weekend the 27-year-old right hander agreed to an incentive-laden one-year, $800,000 contract with the Twins.

Zumaya has experienced a litany of injuries since he debuted for the Tigers back in 2006, the worst being the aforementioned fractured elbow he suffered while throwing a pitch to Delmon Young back on June 28, 2010.

Here's the video:

Baseball blogger Aaron Gleeman

runs down the the rest

of Zumaya's long and illustrious medical history:

Zumaya ruptured a tendon in his finger in early 2007, separated his shoulder while helping his father move boxes prior to the California wild fires in late 2007, underwent a second shoulder surgery for a stress fracture in late 2008, needed a third shoulder surgery after aggravating the injury in mid-2009, and has been under the knife twice since his elbow exploded in June of 2010. And sprinkled in with all the operations have been several other brief disabled list stints.

Zumaya also has the distinction of probably being the only major leaguer to hurt himself playing Guitar Hero. Back in 2006, he missed three games of the American League Championship Series after straining his forearm while pretending he was Jimi Hendrix. Perhaps the dude is just fragile.

When healthy, however, Zumaya has been one of the hardest-throwing relief pitchers in the game. Despite all the injuries, he actually threw harder in 2010 than he did as a rookie in 2006, and since coming into the league his 98.5 mile-per-hour average fastball speed is the highest in baseball.

With Joe Nathan leaving for Texas and Matt Crapps Capps coming off the worst season of his career, Zumaya could be a useful setup reliever or even closer for the local ballclub. Let's just hope Twins management keeps him away from sharp objects and Playstations.

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